Chicago Express Saab 340s

B757plt2B

Well-Known Member
Just curious as to whether or not Chicago Express (or ATA) had any plans to replace their Saab 340 fleet with RJs. I've heard that they have been very happy with the Saab and were maybe looking to add some 2000s. Any info on this would be greatly appreciated.

John
 

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
The Saab 2000 was a consideration, but not anymore. The operating costs are just too high. Also, management says we aren't interested in the 50-seat RJs. The regional market is flooded with these types of aircraft, and they just don't fit into out business plan. I expect to see an aircraft change in the next year or so (late 2004, sometime in 2005). I figure we'll be getting CRJ-700/900s, or maybe those EMB-170s. It's just wait and see at the moment, since ATA's focus is on renegotiating the loans on the B738s and B753s.
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
I expect to see an aircraft change in the next year or so (late 2004, sometime in 2005). I figure we'll be getting CRJ-700/900s, or maybe those EMB-170s.

[/ QUOTE ]
ATA or Chicago Express?
 

B757plt2B

Well-Known Member
I think Matt was referring to Chicago Express. From what I've heard ATA has been more than pleased with their 738s and 753s, other than having to pay for them! It will be interesting to see what happens.

John Scheidler
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Also, management says we aren't interested in the 50-seat RJs. The regional market is flooded with these types of aircraft, and they just don't fit into out business plan. I expect to see an aircraft change in the next year or so (late 2004, sometime in 2005). I figure we'll be getting CRJ-700/900s, or maybe those EMB-170s.

[/ QUOTE ]
To be honest, I don't have a huge interest in, or follow the airlines that close (corporate / charter / frax is more my thing), so this may be a silly question. So bear with me.

If you guys are Saab flyers now, and may be doing an upgrade to the 700/900 series, then why don't the 50-seat RJ's fit the business plan? I guess I don't understand why the turbo-props work for Windy City, the larger regional jets would work, but the ones in-between don't?

Thanks for humoring me....
 

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
Well actually, the Saabs aren't quite working too well for us now. Nobody wants to fly on props anymore, and due to the new FAA mandated passenger weights, we are often bumping passengers due to overweight situations.

I think with the 70 to 90 seat jets, we'll do some point-to-point flying, and be able to spread ourselves around the Midwest more (more seats in one flight, less frequency to some markets, more frequency to other markets).

About 50 seat jets... from www.aviationplanning.com:

"Small Jet Providers (formerly called "regional airlines" and some of which also for the time being operate turboprops) are facing a very turbulent year. There will be re-alignments and re-structuring of some key contracts with major carriers, and by the end of the year there will likely be fewer players in this category and an emerging excess of small 50-seat jets.

"Fleet Demand. Given the emerging shift from traffic declines into traffic increases, the stage is set for a return to demand for new airliners, particularly those in the 70 to 150 seat categories. What's out: "RJs" - the 50-seaters and below and the larger versions of the CRJ. What's in: the new generation 70 - 110 seat "E-Jets" (which the uninformed still try to call "regional" jets.) What will be taking form by the end of 2004: Strong interest in the Boeing 7E7, if it appears to be anything close to what's being advertised. What's staying put: Most of what's parked in the desert. The new demand curve will be driven by a need to get operational costs down, and a fleet of sandbox 737-300s won't do it.

"The biggest potential for upheaval will be within the Small Jet Provider category. (Again, this is the segment that some still call "regional airlines.")

These entities, which are in business to lease aircraft and crews (including turboprops in some cases) to mega-carrier systems, are facing a industry shake-out. The intent of Atlantic Coast Airlines to get out of the SJP business and start an independent airline indicates not only a recognition of this trend, but also a management team that has a good grasp of evolving trends. (All that said, it will be a delicate process to place 80+ RJs into independent service. The A-320 plan, however, has merit - especially when one considers that ACA has more cash than JetBlue did at its start-up.)

The SJP segment is a big part of the airline industry - but not one that represents strong growth. A continued shake-out, particularly among the turboprop operators, can be expected. Watch for more consolidation. And don't expect many - if any - big orders for more RJs. The 50-seat segment is saturated.

"We noted this last year, and we noted it years before.

It's happening - consumers are getting weary of long-haul flying cramped within the tight tube of an RJ - including the 70 and 90 seat stretched versions of the CRJ. Even the Wall Street Journal has noted the trend.

But, one can accurately observe, mega-carriers are still replacing long haul flying with RJs. Like United, in its effort to make A-320s available for its silly Ted experiment, is actually putting an RJ on its evening DEN-ATL flight - which is a major business market. And that, friends, could lead to some very upset consumers - indeed, a consumer revolt.

To be sure, there are applications where only an RJ can provide jet service adequately. But where there is an alternative, particularly in major markets that are as much as 3 hours or more, boarding to deplaning, riding an RJ can be a physical experience not seen since the Inquisition.

Let's recount the fun a Premier Executive United passenger will have when he arrives at DEN from SEA for his connection on the 6:30 departure to ATL. Yes, he gets the full-Monty RJ experience. He finds he has to wait in a gate area handling four other flights at the same time. He eventually has to schlep his carry-on down a dirty stairwell, cross a noisy and maybe snow-covered ramp. He has to leave his "carry-on" at the foot of the stairs, perhaps in a puddle. Then he has to sit in a cramped seat, constantly vying for advantage on the middle arm-rest, which has an edge that juts into one's arm for that perfect level of discomfort. Use of a laptop is impossible, and reading a newspaper means folding it like an Origami napkin. For three hours, give or take, this fun continues.

We're not talking about a flight in a sparse market to a small community, where one might understand that this is the best and most efficient service the market can support. We're talking about Denver to Atlanta on the United Airlines system. When one considers that the DEN-ATL alternative is a 757 on Delta with a movie, or an A-319 on Frontier with TV, or an AirTran 717 with an easy upgrade, this prime-time RJ flight could lead one to believe that United is trying to drive passengers away. This is but one example, and it's not limited to United. The point is that consumers are starting to turn on RJs just as they did on turboprops a decade ago.

Write this down: for markets where mainline aircraft are uneconomic, RJs are great aircraft. Every aircraft has a proper niche, both from the perspective of operational costs and consumer comfort. In the latter regard, RJs are not well-suited to long-haul flying. Certainly, there are some thin markets where an RJ can and will be the only game in town. But in major, high density business markets that represent more than two hours, an RJ can be lethal to brand-loyalty.

The revolution hasn't started yet. But it will.

"We noted it last year. "Watch for strong interest in the Embraer 170/190 series by the end of 2003, both domestically and from non-US carriers. These are essentially mini-737s. Ergonomics are more compatible with larger jets than are commuter-cabin 50-seaters..." Orders from JetBlue, Air Canada, and US Airways have validated this prediction.

By the end of 2004, assuming that traffic and revenue recovery continue, the airline industry will be facing a need to address to last biggest set of operational costs - fuel consumption and maintenance. The result will be not difficult to predict: watch for more orders for new-generation aircraft, particularly the Embraer 170/190 platform."

I won't have any problem flying one of these: http://www.airliners.net/open.file/469345/L/

 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
Yeah, alright. That makes sense.
The turboprop market isn't cutting it anymore, and the 50 seat market is crowded with players and the equipment isn't as nice as the newer larger models.
Does that mean a major shift in the cities you guys are flying to? Maybe a pretty good expansion from 13 cities?

Thanks for the info.

S
 

junkstream

Well-Known Member
What kind of scope does ATA mainline have re: this issue of large small jets? Sounds like a good opportunity for C8, but also some dangerous ground. I would assume the large SJ's would open a lot of new markets, but I would also bet they would end up in the some of the same markets as ATA's 73's. They could even end up replacing 73's in some markets. I would assume there would be a huge uproar from ATA ALPA if either of these scenarios happened.

Worst case scenario: C8 starts flying 70-90 seat large SJ's. ATA ALPA goes on strike during their next contract negotiation. C8 flys some of the ATA struck work in these large SJ's. Because C8 is non-union there is no legal prohibition against flying this struck work. Not good for anyone. Again, worst case, and maybe a stretch, but certainly plausible.

Will you keep the Saabs? Can't really see a EMB 190 pulling up in SPI.
 

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
[ QUOTE ]
What kind of scope does ATA mainline have re: this issue of large small jets? Sounds like a good opportunity for C8, but also some dangerous ground. I would assume the large SJ's would open a lot of new markets, but I would also bet they would end up in the some of the same markets as ATA's 73's. They could even end up replacing 73's in some markets. I would assume there would be a huge uproar from ATA ALPA if either of these scenarios happened.

Worst case scenario: C8 starts flying 70-90 seat large SJ's. ATA ALPA goes on strike during their next contract negotiation. C8 flys some of the ATA struck work in these large SJ's. Because C8 is non-union there is no legal prohibition against flying this struck work. Not good for anyone. Again, worst case, and maybe a stretch, but certainly plausible.

Will you keep the Saabs? Can't really see a EMB 190 pulling up in SPI.

[/ QUOTE ]

I'm not sure the exact language of the scope clause, however it is much more forgiving than those of other carriers. I think it's like one C8 jet for every 3 ATA jets. I can't remember if there was a seat limit. Most of the ATA (actually, all) pilots I've talked to are continuously asking when we are going to get the big jets. We are somewhat an annomoly in the industry... the regional pilots and mainline partner actually get along and want the best for one another!


We actually currently have overlapping routes with ATA. MDW-IND. I would say C8 isn't going to be non-union for much longer. There is a lot of ALPA talk lately.

I doubt we'll keep the Saabs. They are too restricting. You'd start seeing those EMB-170s at SPI!
 

junkstream

Well-Known Member
Well, I hope it all works out. Sounds like it might. I also hope your ALPA stuff works out. I've shared lots of van rides in SPI with you guys, and it seems many want ALPA.

They brought the EMB 170 out to us for some tours and demo flights. It's huge. The cockpit is at the same height as the 737. It really does look like a mini Airbus up close.
 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
FlyChicaga, you think Chicago Express would sell me one of their Saab's? Maybe I can do something like this to it so I can travel around in luxury (semi turbo-prop luxury I guess)!!


 

stuckingfk

Well-Known Member
I am sure you already know, but this is an actual Saab 340!

Talk about about a decent Saab. Matt, what are some of the performance numbers for a 340, ex. speed, range, payload. I am sure one could load this one up as full as possible since it only holds 10. Maybe I could add even some long range fuel tanks to make it half transcontinental!!
 

flycanuck

New Member
According to the February 2003 edition of Northwest Airline's World Traveller magazine, the Saab 340's cruising speed is 290 mph and has a whopping range of 900 miles.
 

IrishSheepdog

Sitting in the median
I see true airspeeds of anywhere from 290 ktas to 270 ktas. Sometimes slower, and I've actually seen a TAS of 299 ktas descending 1000 FPM!

lruppert, I'm sure you could get some good performance from the corporate Saab, only if it's a B model. The A is a dog from what I understand. Going light one evening out of SPI, I got from wheels up to 13,000 feet (cruise) in less than 6 minutes. 8 passengers on board. That's pretty good for the Saab. Our engines are helicopter engines...
 

PeanuckleCRJ

Poodle Wrangler
I was walking behind a mesaba guy that was moving really slow in the ops hallway the other day... he turned around and saw that i was working on getting around him and goes "Sorry bro, I fly the saab."



290mph is about what youll get in the saab..remember thats mph and not knots. The CRJ typically will do about 460-470 knots TAS...the mph conversion is right about what they have us as in the world traveller.


Now then... i hit 615 knots groundspeed last week with a good tailwind...anyone wanna do the conversion for that?
 
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